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If You Like Lists
If you like lists, you'll rejoice in the sites you'll find on this page. You'll also be interested in Michael Korda's Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller, 1900-1999. Here is the link to a review that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor (January 10, 2002).
Each January, the American Dialect Society meets to select a "Word of the Year". At the same time, it selects words that are "Most Useful", "Most Unnecessary", "Most Likely to Succeed", "Least Likely to Succeed", "Most Outrageous", "Most Original", "Most Euphemistic", and "Brand New". Its selections from 1990 to the present are shown.
On December 18, 2001, linguist Geoff Nunberg discussed Words of the Year candidates for 2001, as well as past winners and losers on Fresh Air. If you have the Real Player installed for your browser, you can hear what he had to say.
YourDictionary.com also posts fun and informative lists. Here are links to those for:
You can also track the popularity of individual words as measured by the number of times they've been looked up on certain word sites. If this sounds interesting, take a look at:
See if you agree with the Film Site's choices.
You may also want to look at the American Film Institute's list.
Each January, the Public Relations Office at Michigan's Lake Superior State University publishes a list of the English words it wants banished for "Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness". First published in 1976, a comprehensive list is also available at the site.
This link takes you to a list of WHO world health fact lists for different years.
Here you'll find links to lists of factual assertions on a variety of topics.
Discover Magazine's list of the greatest events in 20th century science
Gary Price is a librarian at George Washington University's Gelman Library. This is his list of links to Internet sites that display lists on just about any conceivable topic.
LIFE magazine presents its picks for the top 100 events of the second millennium. This is the online version of LIFE's Fall 1997 Special Issue.
This site presents lists that compare the Presidents of the US in every conceivable way.
Each year on April 13 (Thomas Jefferson's birthday), the Jefferson Center celebrates "the birth and ideals of its namesake by calling attention to those who in the past year forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson's admonition that freedom of speech 'cannot be limited without being lost.'" Its archives go back to 1992.
Each year the judges at Project Censored select 25 news stories that have been ignored or underreported by the major news media. Their archive goes back to 1990. They also list their choices for the top Junk Food News of the year. Finally, if all this isn't enough, you can visit their online bookstore to find out how to get an even deeper look at all of the above.
Random House presents
the 100 best novels of the 20th century
the 100 best non-fiction books of the 20th century
In early 1999, the Newseum polled a collection of journalists and scholars to develop this list. They also prepared a web site to allow you to explore it in greater depth, and to cast your own vote. The list has come in for some criticism. In August 1999, the Freedom Forum published a panel discussion's critical look at the list.
For more about world languages, see the Classroomtools.com activity dealing with Most Common Languages.
Throughout 1999, TIME magazine published a variety of lists of the century's most important people. This site is the portal to those lists.
EDGE, the online forum founded by literary agent John Brockman, presents answers to this question from some of the world's most thoughtful people.
Here you'll find lists of new words struggling for inclusion in the language, weird words that might be dropping out, topical words that are in the news, and much more. In my opinion this is the finest site available for those wanting to keep up-to-date on the ever-changing English language. Michael Quinion updates the site on Saturday mornings. If you like, you can ask to be put on his automatic e-mailing list to receive each week's additions in your e-mail box.
If you are interested in comparative national statistics (life expectancy, education, economics, etc.), then this is the site for you. It is easy to use and graphically rich (without taking forever to download).
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original web posting: Wednesday, July 14, 1999
last modified: Monday, July 27, 2009